4 October, 2020 – The Solomon Islands is the latest in the South Pacific to succumb to the global spread of the coronavirus. A student returning from the Philippines has been confirmed as the country’s first case of COVID-19.
The news was confirmed by Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Saturday: “a student that came on a repatriation flight from the Philippines.”
“The student was quarantined in Manila before he boarded the flight to return home. He tested negative for the three tests that were done in Manila, which was a compulsory requirement,” Sogavare states in an online briefing.
The government is now taking precautionary steps with contact-tracing and quarantine is in effect for those who had any contacts with the student.
Repatriation flights are also temporarily suspended for further review and assessments.
“The preparedness and response measures taken by the government over the past eight months have now been activated and are in full operation,” according to Sogavare.
While many of the small island states in the Pacific continue to enjoy their COVID-19 free status, nearby countries like the Philippines, with over 319,000 confirmed cases and 5,678 deaths, continue their battle to contain the epidemic.
Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Micronesia, Palau, Nauru and Vanuatu are now the last countries in the Pacific and around the globe to remain free of the coronavirus.